Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at email@example.com.
I know the whistle tends to go away in playoff hockey, however shouldn't Erik Johnson have been assessed 2 min for delay of game for intentionally knocking his own net off (completely on his own) after racing back to save a goal (or at least a shot that was very close to going in) late in the game. Moments later Colorado pulls their goalie for a 6 on 5 game tying goal and of course Erik Johnson gets an assist on the game tying goal as well.
This time, it was not a case of the ref's whistle being put away but instead the correct judgment made that Erik Johnson's momentum accidentally displaced the net from its moorings. Johnson made a terrific play to rush back and knock the puck toward the corner as it was less than a foot away from entering the empty net.
The only way that Johnson could keep the puck out of his net was with a full-speed sprint with no let-up until he contacted the puck with his stick. That sprint took Johnson's body position deep into the goal crease. After knocking the puck from harm's way less than a foot from the line, the Avs' defenceman shifted his focus and attempted to execute a hard stop. Johnson's close proximity to the goal frame, combined with his momentum, resulted in unavoidable contact with the goal post. The correct determination was made by the referee on the play.
While this wasn't the case, let me play out the various scenarios for you, Mike, if it had been ruled that Johnson displaced the goal post deliberately with 1:32 remaining in regulation time and with Colorado goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov on the bench for an extra attacker.
- A minor penalty could not be assessed due to the fact that there was insufficient time remaining in regulation to serve the penalty in its entirety (or by reason of penalties already imposed or anytime in overtime). Instead a penalty shot would be awarded. (Rule 63.5) Varlamov would be allowed to return to his net and defend the shot.
- An awarded goal shall be imposed when the goal has been displaced deliberately by the defending player when their goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker, thereby preventing an impending goal by the attacking team. (Rule 63.6). After knocking the puck away, had Johnson deliberately pushed the net off the moorings as Matt Cooke was in the act of shooting the puck into the net (impending goal) an awarded goal could result.
For either of these situations to apply, it must be determined that the defending player "deliberately" displaced the goal post. That was not the case when Johnson accidentally and unavoidably made contact with the goal frame after knocking the puck away and saving a sure goal.